Roger Stern/1010 WINS

Schumer: Feds haven't properly investigated limo safety

October 14, 2018 - 1:37 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Following the horrific limousine crash that killed 20 people upstate, Sen. Chuck Schumer is pointing to glaring gaps in safety data that he says exist because federal officials have not done enough to investigate limo accidents.

Schumer blamed the National Transportation Safety Board, which he says hasn’t thoroughly investigated a single limousine crash in the last three years.

“There’s a little bit of Abbot and Costello in the federal agencies,” Schumer said.

He then called on the board to investigate all past stretch-limo accidents, just as it’s done with the one last week in Schoharie County.

“The sad fact here is that right now everyone is talking about limo safety when we could have been studying it for the past few years,” Schumer said. “The NTSB knows they need to fix this situation so we can have as much information as possible available.”

The agency — charged by Congress to conduct independent probes and make safety recommendations — agreed to investigate limo crashes on a case-by-case basis after a 2015 wreck that killed four women on New York's Long Island.

Factory-built limousines must meet stringent safety regulations. But luxury cars converted to limos, like the one in last week's crash, often lack such safety components as side-impact air bags, reinforced rollover protection bars and accessible emergency exits.

“There’s no regulation for side impact air bags, for rollover bars, for appropriate exits,” Schumer explained.

Schumer says the NTSB should recommit and follow-through on the agency's promise to investigate limousine crashes across the U.S. — not just those that result in multiple deaths — in order to gather crucial safety information and determine whether regulations or laws need to be changed.

The board must also issue immediate safety recommendations on stretch limousines as it investigates last weekend's crash, he said.

(© 1010 WINS. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)